Since the Syrian Armed Forces withdrew from the towns of Al-Mastouma, Nahliyah, and Musayabeen two weeks ago, the Syrian Al-Qaeda group “Jabhat Al-Nusra” has joined their allies from Harakat Ahrar Al-Sham and Jund Al-Aqsa in their fight to capture the Syrian Government stronghold of Ariha, located south of the provincial capital of Idlib.
The militants from Jabhat Al-Nusra wasted no time advancing their fighters to the city of Ariha and the nearby village of Kafr Najd in order to join forces with their allies from Harakat Ahrar Al-Sham and Jund Al-Aqsa that were besieging the Syrian Arab Army’s 87th Brigade of the 11th Tank Division and the National Defense Forces (NDF) at a number of flanks.
Recently, the battle for Ariha has intensified between the Al-Qaeda linked groups and the Syrian Armed Forces, as the former has launched numerous attacks on the city’s northern and eastern flanks, where they have struggled to advance past the rugged hills and terrain encompassing this area of the Idlib Governorate.
On Wednesday morning, the Syrian Armed Forces surprised the militants with a counter-assault at the Al-Jawmah Checkpoint near the town of Musayabeen; this attack resulted in the SAA’s 87th Brigade and the National Defense Forces to alleviate the pressure imposed by the enemy combatants besieging the city of Ariha.
In conjunction with the Syrian Armed Forces counter-assault at the Al-Jawmah Checkpoint, the Syrian Arab Air Force (SAAF) carried out over 40 airstrikes in the Idlib Governorate Wednesday, targeting the cities and towns of Musayabeen, Al-Mastouma, Idlib City, Binnish, Saraqib, Taftanaz, Jisr Al-Shughour, Kafr Lata, Kafr Nubl, and Qastoun.
West of Ariha, the Syrian Arab Army’s Tiger Forces have fought their way to the strategic hill at Tal Muntar after fierce clashes with the enemy combatants from Jabhat Al-Nusra and Ajnad Al-Sham at the northeastern outskirts of Al-Frikka near the integral city of Jisr Al-Shughour.